Thursday, April 30, 2015

Book #120

Japanese Cash Book

The book I made for today is a copy of a Japanese cash booklet that I acquired some time ago. I have photographed them together since the original looks much more interesting than my blank copy. The original, as you can see, is handwritten on traditional washi. I was told that it originated in the Meiji period. It is a curious item and I think it is probably a one-of-a-kind homemade notebook, quickly whipped together by its owner. Inside, there is a multi-page accordion booklet. Each page is folded along one side so they are a double thickness, as is typical of Japanese books. They are bound to the covering wrapper, using a twisted paper cord.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book #119

Yamato Toji

This is the more formal Yamato binding meant for larger books. This is one of my favorite Japanese bindings; the knotted paper strips and long corner pieces are an elegant combination.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Book #118

Yamato Ledger Binding

Today's simple book is a traditional Japanese ledger structure with a Yamato binding.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Book #117

Sewn Board Binding

This is an example of the elegant and practical sewn board binding that I made in a workshop with Gary Frost a few years ago. Gary designed this particular structure himself and I saw a nice summary of its features on this blog, if you are interested in learning more about it.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Book #116

Green Binding No.6

Another recycled book today. The cover is made using a plastic shopping bag that is folded to size, several layers thick, and then ironed into a solid, firm piece of plastic. The pages on this book are cut from used envelopes. I have used another of Smith's 3-section sewings for the binding, this one is called twisted Xs.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Book #115

Green Binding No. 5

Yet another book made from repurposed materials. I used a zipper coffee bag for the cover and the pages are cut from brown paper bags. I made a closure using an old button. For this book, I did use new linen thread... otherwise everything else was repurposed.

Thanks to Carley who told me about books she had made using these kinds of plastic zipper bags. I used a different binding than hers. For mine, I used one of Keith Smith's 3-section stitches called haxagonals. I really like how the cover has a pocket built in, since the zipper closure is still intact on the front so it could be used to hold a pencil or other small items.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Book #114

Green Binding No. 4

This book is made using the Secret Scottish Rubbish binding, which I have written about before if you want to read more about it. Again, all the materials are repurposed: cookie package for the cover, old envelopes for the pages, and the binding is "sewn" with a strip of plastic cut from a shopping bag.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Book #113

Green Binding No. 3

Another book made from repurposed materials today. The cover is cut from a cracker box, the pages are salvaged from the blue bin, and the binding is made from a twig and an elastic. I discovered this little structure over at Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord's site,, when I was looking for ideas that I could make with kids. She has lots of great ideas on her website.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Book #112

Green Binding No. 2

It is Earth Day today! Do something good for the planet.

Today's book is another one made entirely from repurposed materials. Some time ago, I had to shred some documents that had been bound with these plastic coils. So I saved the plastic coils to see if I could use them again. Cut down to this smaller size, they work perfectly fine for a small notebook. The cover is made from a coffee cup that I flattened and trimmed. The pages are cut from paper salvaged from the blue bin. All materials repurposed and transformed into a handy little notebook. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Book #111

Green Binding No.1

Tomorrow is Earth Day, so over the next few days I will show a few of the simple bindings that I have used for making "green" books. The first is one that I did with a group a teenagers and all the materials we used were repurposed. The covers were cut from various food boxes and the pages were from a printer/photocopier blue bin where all the sheets were blank on one side. The only other thing we needed was something to stitch the pages, and we cut a plastic bag into strips and used the long strips of plastic to sew the book.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Book #110

Pinking Shears

This one is called pinking shears for obvious reasons. Yes, I know there have been a lot of these simple 2-section stitches now, but I did this batch of posts all in advance so that I could focus on some other things. This is the last one that I'm going to show in this little series for now. I'll try to come up with something different for tomorrow!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Book #109

Lightning Bolt

This is another one that I really like. Smith calls this two-section stitching pattern lightning bolt.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Book #108


I really like this 2-section stitching pattern, also from Smith's book. This is called "zigzag".

Friday, April 17, 2015

Book #107

Diagonals & Bars

Diagonals & bars is today's 2-section sewing, another one from Smith's book.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Book #106

Broken Zs

More of Smith's 2-section stitching today. This one is called broken Zs.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Book #105

Bars & Arrows

I find the appearance of this this particular two-section stitch to be a little awkward, but it is still quite simple to produce. Smith calls this one bars & arrows.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Book #104

Standing Zs

Called Standing Zs or Lying Ns, this is another of the two-section stitches in Smith's book.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Book #103

Dash & Bars

I have being trying a few more of the two-section stitches in Smith's book. He calls this one dash & bars.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Book #102

Nested Pop-ups

I made some pop-up balloons for my birthday today! This is a simple example of nested pop-ups where I created the same pop-up shape on three different sheets -- just moving it a bit each time. Then when the three sheets are stacked together, the shapes pop through the holes created by the sheets in front.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Book #101


This is one of the three-section sewings from Smith's book, simply called Vs.

These books are available on Etsy, here and here.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Book #100

Accordion with hardcover

One hundred! I made it to 100, and so far I have not missed a day even though there were a couple posts that happened very late. I made an accordion with a hardcover to mark this occassion. It has 100 numbered pages which my daughter and I decorated.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Book #99

The Dash

Another simple two-section sewing. Smith calls this "The Dash". He describes this in his book "1- 2- & 3-Section Sewings."

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Book #98

Parallel Bars

Today's little notebook is a simple two-section stitching technique that Keith Smith calls "parallel bars."

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Book #97

Australian Piano Hinge

This book is made using a technique that I found described on Alisa Golden's website. She says it was originally called "Flat-Style Australian Reverse Piano Hinge binding" and she nicknamed it the Australian Piano Hinge, which is a little easier to remember! It is a nice structure combining an accordion with folded signatures. I have made this example using two accordion spine pieces.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Book #96

American publishers' trade binding

This rather plain-looking book is a model of a typical American publishers' trade binding commonly used in binderies during the 1800s in the United States.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Book #95

W. Rabbit Envelope Book

Since it is Easter, today's book features a bunny. Well, it features a White Rabbit. The one that Alice meets down in the rabbit hole. I used an origami structure to make the bunny envelope - using an old book page that I recently marbled. Inside the envelope, "it seems to be a letter, written by the prisoner to — to somebody" which is unfolded and read by the Rabbit at the Knave's trial.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Book #94

Chinese Bamboo Binding

I have attempted to create something similar to a Chinese bamboo book, which is sometimes called the Chinese Pothi binding since it is believed to be an adaptation of the Indian Pothi (palm leaf) binding. Books like these were the very earliest bound manuscripts in China and were made from split bamboo strips and bound together with leather or silk. In Chinese it is called wei pien when bound with leather or sze pien when bound with silk.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Book #93

Limp Vellum Chainstitch

This is another structure based on northern European medieval binding techniques. Parchment cover, reinforced spine, and a chain stitch sewing. Fore-edge envelope flap with a closure consisting of ties and wooden buttons.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Book #92

Woven Longstitch

Today's journal is an example of a northern European medieval binding. Parchment cover with turn-ins secured with twisted vellum tackets, spine reinforced with heavy leather, and the sewing is a longstitch and link stitch combination with secondary weaving.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Book #91

The Edible Book

There are Edible Book festivals all over the world and they are usually held on April 1st, or thereabouts. If you want to look for an event in your area, check either the main website at, or on Facebook.

Pictured here is a bookbinder's edible book that I made, called Limp Bindings from Tallinn!